Monday, June 30, 2014

Sucker Punch

Well, today was my annual girl doctor appointment, and I admit the waiting room of expectant mom's with their husbands sent me into a downward spiral of sadness.  Definitely time to find a doctor that doesn't also deliver babies. I honestly didn't see it coming.  But today, the looks on the couples faces - the hope, the excitement, the nervousness - I was sad for all that we lost.  We didn't get to experience that.  We never will.  It just doesn't seem fair.  My heart hurt for Kevin too.  I was watching those dad's-to-be and couldn't help but think I wasn't able to give that feeling or experience to Kevin.  His heart breaks too over the child we never got to have.  Today was a sucker punch of life.  Just one of those days that you don't see coming that throws you into a pit of heartbreak.  You never know when it will hit.  For Kevin, it was watching the videos of the graduates at his nephew's graduation.  You know the video that shows the kid as a baby and a toddler and over the years up to graduation.  Yep, I looked over and he was crying.  Not crying because his nephew was graduating, but crying over what we would never have.  You think it is heartbreaking to sit in a lobby full of pregnant women, it is truly heartbreaking to watch your husband cry and know you can't do a thing to fix it and it just isn't fair.  For the most part, we cope with it just fine.  We purposely avoid certain situations - baby showers, mothers/fathers day at church - I guess people can judge us for avoiding instead of just facing it head on.  But, I look at it like this, you don't  go to bars with an alcoholic.  You keep them away from it for their sobriety.  Well, we stay away from "all things baby" if at all possible for our sanity.  Our happiness.  I am beginning to realize it will probably always be there lurking in the background for us.  That sadness over what we wanted so badly and just couldn't have.  Sometimes it seems like life has dealt us more than was necessary in the pain department, but God doesn't promise us an easy life.  I have to get up tomorrow and count my blessings.  There are plenty.  So, so, so many blessings, but there is also a part of me that is just broken and I pray that someday it heals and I have peace about it all.
John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Scrap Camp

 My BFF and I started this tradition last year because we used to get together in the summer's but it just got harder with kids, schedules, and cat allergies. :)  So, meeting up in the camper seemed the perfect solution!  We let our scrapping stuff literally take over the entire camper and we scrap for 2 days!!  It's a win-win!  Time with the BFF and doing one of my favorite hobbies.
 Big Bear gets a BIG shout out for setting up the camper for us and breaking it down after AND even coming out one night and feeding us philly steak sandwiches from some left over yummy brisket he had!  Plus, he managed to take care of all the furkids for me while I was gone and it was no easy feat with a new kitten in the mix. :)
 Tuesday, we set up camp and then headed to the nearest scrapbook stores - there are two in a town an hour away from us.  We hit both of them and then managed to also go to Hobby Lobby and Michael's.  We were definitely stocked up and ready after that!
My tally:
Tuesday = 10 pages
Wednesday = 30 pages
Thursday = 4 pages
Success!!!
I followed this trip with coming home and setting my stuff up in the living room for two days.  Scrap night with my regular scrapping peeps was last night, which means I have managed for the first time in YEARS to be caught up!!!!  Woohoo!!!

Summer Scrap Camp 2014 - KOA, Maumelle - June 24th-26th

Monday, June 23, 2014

First week of Summer

 My contract for the school year ended last Monday, so as soon as I finished work, we headed out to our favorite campsite (that is also dirt cheap at $12 a night), and camped Monday through Friday!!  We got a few new little treats to start the season off right.  My favorite are the camper lights:
 We had both been looking forward to this for WEEKS!  We have been so stinking busy and the chance to get away for a week a perfect reward!  Fishing, reading, relaxing, napping, eating...all in the peace of the woods.  We had the entire area we were in to ourselves too until Thursday.  Awesome!
 We fished each day in our favorite little cove and ended up catching enough brim to feed ourselves dinner one night.  That's what I call a win! :)  Bubba Bear is a good fishing partner too.  He got to go with us Monday & Tuesday night, then Kevin had a catering Wednesday so we drove in early Wed. morning and I switched out doggies so everyone would get a turn to camp. :)
 Wednesday & Thursday nights, Rex and Stella got to go with us.  Rex doesn't really like camping during the summer months, but he hates boarding even more! The poor spoiled boy needs a soft place to lay down!  We keep him in the camper a lot because he loves the bottom bunk. Rotten!
Our view for the week:
 Stella is our best camping dog.  And, honestly, one of my favorite things is playing fetch with her in the water and watching her swim.  She could do it for hours and seems to be grinning the entire time!






 All good things must come to an end.  Friday was time to break down camp and come home.  These two had either been boarding or camping since Monday so as soon as I raised the hatch, they jumped in (even though we were a long way from ready to go).  These city dogs were ready to get back to the comforts of home! HA!
It was a great week!  I think we might start off summer vacation every year this way!! 
Shouse Ford  @ Lake DeGray
site #77
June 16th -20th

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

24
I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads.  It is told from the various characters point of view.  Each chapter is a different character telling the story.  It is set in Mississippi during a time that I can only hope I would have made good choices and not been like some of the racist characters in this book.  It was hard to stomach at times because you know when you read things like this that it is how the time was back then.  Through the whole book, you have a sense that something bad is going to happen.  And, it does, but maybe not what all you expect.  Worth a read in my opinion.
 
Summary from goodreads.com:
 In Jordan's prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family's struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.

The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale. As Kingsolver says of Hillary Jordan, "Her characters walked straight out of 1940s Mississippi and into the part of my brain where sympathy and anger and love reside, leaving my heart racing. They are with me still.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Introducing Ruby Rue Benson

 First, rest easy.  Stryder was adopted earlier in the week and went to the perfect home for him.  The local shelter had over 30 kittens/cats at one point this week.  They were WAY overfull and pleading for help.  This is a kill shelter, so I was getting nervous while we were camping, but I had left my number if Stryder was in danger at any point.  So...when we got there Friday, there were 3 cats and tons of kittens...kittens everywhere!!  And this little fella just took right to Kevin.  He was hooked and said, "this is the one!"  I was relieved because I couldn't pick to save my life!!
 And, it was a girl!!  I really wanted a girl.  I love a grey cat too.  Exciting!!!  Luckily, we had left Bubba Bear to board one extra night (we've been gone camping all week).  So, she only had to meet the two easy siblings the first night. :)

 Adoption day: Friday, June 20th
Birthdate: May 2nd - she came home to us at 7 weeks and weighing in at a mere 1 lb. 12 oz.  Crazy little!
 Rex is a little scared of her.  Stella is just curious.  No issues here.  Bubba is another story.  Might take a beat down with that one!
 It's hard to get good pics of her because she is a speedy little thing!!  Zips here and there like speed lightning.  She is sleeping and "living" in the master area for now until it is safe for her little self to have run of the house (except when we aren't home...she will be safely tucked away from the pups). 
Ruby Rue, I hope we have many years together cuddling and purring and playing, and I hope I have honored my Nala girl by saving you from the shelter and giving you a cushioned, spoiled life as a house cat. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Orphan Train by Kline

23
Put this one on your summer reading list.  This is a really good story basically of a woman's life that is now 91 years old so it goes back into the Depression and takes you through history.  I was fascinated by the orphan train because I had never heard of them.  It was appalling to me how easy it was to adopt back then, but at the same time, I couldn't help but think I'd probably have a child if it were that easy today!!  Turns out one of the guys Kevin works with at the golf course - his grandfather was on an actual orphan train.  Anyway, it is a really good story of a girls life that goes to show the things that happen to us in life - both good and bad - make us who we are and those things added together are our story.  Everyone has a story.
 
Summary:
Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

I heart books = I heart my job!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Meet Stryder...the next Benson????

 I went to the shelter today to look at a grey male cat.  Not Stryder...but when I got there in the cat room full of grown cats and kittens, it was somehow Stryder who got my attention.  I think it was his laid-back attitude.  I kept going back to him.
 We brought a dog in the room to see how the grey cat reacted.  You know, the one I was there to see. :)  The cat in the cage below Mr. Grey cat had a FIT and tried to attack the dog through her cage, which caused a big commotion.  Who do you think remained calm and cool through the commotion?  Yep, Stryder!  Kittens were scurrying for cover everywhere and there he laid like "what's the big deal?"  So, we brought the dog over to him and no reaction.  Opened his cage door, and the dog stuck his head in.  Stryder got up, stretched and came to sniff the dog's nose. 

 He's 7.  The oldest cat there.  He was an owner surrender in April.  He's been stuck in that small cage for 2 months.  Don't ask why his owners surrendered him.  People give all kinds of reasons.  They had a kid or they were moving and couldn't take him.  I will never understand it. 
 I couldn't stand it anymore and opened his cage and gave him full loving.  Two hands scratching and petting and he started purring.  My heart melted.  I almost cried.  I didn't realize how much I missed that sound.  A cat purring is a happy sound and did my heart good.  I gave an excited, "He's purring!" - like I was 2 years old and it was the first time I had heard a cat purr! ha!  The girl said, "Wow!  He hasn't done that in a long time."  NO PRESSURE! ha!
Kevin is going to meet him tomorrow...we'll see! 

Reached by Ally Condie

22
Let me save you the trouble here...skip this trilogy!  The first book was okay and it went downhill from there.

Summary from goodreads.com:
After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Quality Time/Relaxing Weekend

We were all set for another crazy, busy week and then had 3 cancellations - 2 catering and 1 concessions.  I am sure not complaining about the concession cancellation because that meant I had a weekend OFF!  Whoop!  I guess that's one reason to be happy for all this stinkin' rain!!
We decided to spend Saturday doing things that are fun to us and spending quality time together, so first we hit some yard sales.  I scored all the below for a mere $20!!!! Love! :)  That is 10, count them, 10 new tablecloths for camping!!
 After the yard sales and one estate sale where found an antique Bible, we hit the downtown area for the Farmers Market.  So, here is our total haul for the morning.  You know Big Bear shopped fresh food.  YUM!
 The resulting dinner:  LOVE grilled corn on the cob!!!!
Sunday was rain, rain, rain, but we were blessed with our nephew in town and he went to church with us and then had lunch and some family time.  The doggies were sure happy to have their cousin come play with them. :)

 Dinner Sunday night - compliments of my fishing in-laws! :)  When you are retired with a fishing boat, you catch so much that you have to share!
 And, we wrapped up the weekend in the closet for a tornado warning and sirens going off.  Good times!  The pups just give me the "heavy sigh" when we all get in the closet! ha!  Kevin even got in there with us this time for a few minutes.  He's usually "checking the weather" and keeping us updated.  He laughed at me when he realized I keep the 3 leashes in there.  He won't be laughing if we get hit by a tornado!!!
 Might as well get comfy....never know how long these things are gonna last! :)  Our next place WILL have a storm cellar.  This weather is getting out of control!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Crossed by Allie Condie

21
This is the second book in the Matched trilogy for young adults.  I liked the first one but this one wasn't as good.  Seems to drag out instead of keeping the action going and some characters were separated for entire book.  You know I'm going to go ahead and read the third one though because I need closure! ha!

Summary from goodreads.com:
The Society chooses everything.

The books you read.
The music you listen to.
The person you love.

Yet for Cassia the rules have changed. Ky has been taken and she will sacrifice everything to find him.

And when Cassia discovers Ky has escaped to the wild frontiers beyond the Society there is hope.

But on the edge of society nothing is as it seems...

A rebellion is rising.

And a tangled web of lies and double-crosses could destroy everything.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Where have we been?

Closing out school.  Inventory of books. (The organizer in me loves it!)  Catering. Catering. Catering. And more catering. (Big Bear has been BUSY...which means I am working two jobs and busy!)  Add house hunting for a place in the country and we are running like crazy!!  June 16th is my last day of work for 8 weeks and THEN I can relax while I read and house hunt!!  NO summer school for me this year!!  First time in a LONG time!  I'm going to miss the extra money but enjoy the time OFF!
Benefits of my second job...being a taste tester! Makes doing those books much easier! ha! :)